BY CAIRRIL MILLS
Lara Lynn Weaver faced a life crisis as she approached her 45th birthday. She felt obsessed with the material world. “It was that shameful materialistic mindset of, ‘I’m 45, shouldn’t I be able to afford a new car?’” she says. Then she saw a documentary on food insecurity and was inspired to organize Love the Hub, a fundraiser for Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard. Instead of agonizing about what she lacked in her own life, Weaver focused on raising $4,500 for the food distribution charity. She did better than that; drawing on her web of connections, she raised more than $6,000.
Weaver developed those connections through multiple vocations, avocations, and community involvement. She has a long history of working with survivors of domestic violence and an extensive background as a musician.
In 1990, Weaver, now 47, began working at Middle Way House, which provides safe living conditions for women and children who have experienced domestic violence. In the late ’90s she began developing rape prevention education materials for use in schools with student intern Leila Voyles-Wood. The curriculum, “Building Healthy Relationships,” is still in use in middle schools and high schools across the country.
While working as an executive assistant in Monroe County Prosecuting Attorney Chris Gaal’s office in 2011, she saw that women trying to escape domestic violence were not receiving the resources they needed. “I worked with County Clerk Linda Robbins to pull together a team from Middle Way House, the Indiana University School of Social Work, and the Indiana University Maurer School of Law Protective Order Project,” Weaver says. “We developed a program to target the specific needs of domestic violence victims, overcoming the bureaucratic obstacles previously in place.”
A classically trained pianist and dancer, Weaver sings with the local world music vocal ensemble Kaia and The Stardusters Big Band, among others. She plays percussion, piano, flute, and accordion, and is a frequent performer with other Bloomington bands. She says she’s also fond of performing with her husband, Kevin MacDowell, otherwise known as Kid Kazooey.
When asked about the future, Weaver says she wants to help sustain Bloomington as a beautiful place to be, a place with a social conscience, a place where everybody thrives. Not only that, she wants to learn to fly. “I have this retirement fantasy where I am this little old lady with a plane, and I live in an archipelago, and I help people hop around from place to place,” she says. “Kazooey will run a piano bar. It’s like Casablanca meets Mister Rogers.”